Ken Scott—one of a handful of recording engineers to have worked with the Beatles—has stories to tell. And lucky for us, he loves telling them. To emphasize the point, Scott will be publishing a 500-page memoir, Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust, on June 6 through Alfred Music Publishing. The book recounts the events of what Scott calls his "blessed life" working with innumerable rock legends.
On this day in 1965, The Beatles recorded “Help!” -- the song -- during a four-hour session that started around 7 p.m. at Abbey Road Studio Two in London. Twelve takes were recorded; the first eight were of the rhythm tracks only, with vocals appearing for the first time on take nine. John Lennon -- the song's primary writer -- sang lead vocals, backed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
While The Beatles spent the first months of 1969 getting back to their roots with the Let It Be sessions, EMI's Abbey Road Studios was moving headlong into the future. On November 23, 1968, Studio Two's control room had been outfitted with EMI's new TG12345 mixer, the first transistorized recording console in Abbey Road.
It hadn’t occurred to me that recording with an electric guitar would be all that different from recording acoustic. I was wrong. Over the years, I have developed a decent working knowledge of Pro Tools and have access to some nice mics. I’ve learned the proper mic’ing technique for recording acoustic guitar and have experimented with mic placement, mixing in the built-in pickup track, EQ-ing and more in order to get a pretty good acoustic recording.
Nineteen hundred and seventy-two is one of those rare years -- like, say, 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1991 -- that saw the release of several seminal rock albums. As we wrote last year in our 1971 story, "even for a year that falls squarely in the heart of the 'classic rock' era, it was a particularly classic year."
Hargo Khalsa lived in India and Liverpool, England, before moving to California, where he honed his natural knack for songwriting. When he was 8, he wrote the theme song for the South African Peace Conference. Another Hargo composition, "Crying for John Lennon," was produced by Phil Spector and used in the 2009 documentary Strawberry Fields. It marks Spector's last production.
"You Can't Do That," one of many jealousy-themed songs in John Lennon's catalog, was released as the B-side of "Can't Buy Me Love" on March 20 while the band was hard at work filming A Hard Day's Night. It is the first of the film songs to be recorded at Abbey Road Studio Two -- on February 25, 1964 -- after the band's successful trip to the United States.
By the fall of 1965, the Beatles and George Martin had come to regard the recording studio as a place to experiment, think outside the box and slowly pull away from their tried-and-true formulas. On October 12 of that year, they did just that, recording a brilliant new John Lennon composition inspired by a clandestine affair he was having at the time. The recording would feature an exciting new tool, George Harrison's sitar.
Recently, I had the great fortune to be invited to the John Lennon Bus to participate in a very cool and unique recording session. In January 2011, I checked out the bus and learned what the organization is all about at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim. The bus is essentially a state-of-the-art recording studio that’s outfitted with all the latest and greatest equipment for recording audio and video -- and it ROLLS, baby!